Thursday, June 23, 2011

The NPA Shrinks

Not so long ago, the NPA looked like THE growth party on the far left. It has rapidly lost militants, however, and is now about a third the size it was two years ago, to judge by the number of people turning out for its local conventions. The reasons for the collapse, as far as I can tell: the resignation of Olivier Besancenot as spokesperson, the rapid rise of the Front de Gauche, and internal dissension over such issues as allowing candidates wearing headscarves to represent the party.

1 comment:

brent said...

Art, From what I can see at a distance the decline is as real as you say, but I would rank the reasons differently: 1) OB's resignation as porte-parole is more a consequence, I think, than a cause (though it will hasten the outflow); 2) I don't see so much interest in the PG or FG as such among NPA members--not many seem to show up in JLM's polling numbers and there's a lot of sectarian ill-will (which as an outsider I find rather odd, but there it is); 3) the 3-way split at the convention is the real problem: totally irreconcilable, 3 roughly equal groups, the smaller one LCR hard-liners, the next larger one unitaire pragmatists, and--the central committee's line--a group in principle willing to work with the rest of the far-left but in practice unwilling to compromise enough to do so. The intransigence of these strategic positions, much more than any disagreement on the issues (though the 'head scarf'/secularity one was a sharp divide) seems to be the reef on which the party has foundered. In all fairness, the 3rd group, which represents the plurality, was never so keen on a large electoral party anyhow, and is apparently happy to fade back into the world of social movements, where it is solidly grounded. I remain puzzled why the LCR ever embarked down this blind alley in the first place.